Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fluorite in the Treasure Room

Hello from Grandpa's Attic!

Our school is already out for Thanksgiving break, so I got up extra early today and rode the elevator down to the kitchen to grab a frozen waffle, then I hopped back in and rode up to the fourth floor where Grandpa has his fabulous collection. My little brother, Mica, is still asleep and the last thing I want to do is wake him up so he can ruin my absolutely perfect morning. He annoys me to death all the time. OMG, he's soooo immature!

I love it up here in Grandpa's Attic, aka the Treasure Room! It's a room on top of our underground house that is carved up into the mountain. A few years ago Grandpa had to paint the natural stone ceiling to keep the moisture out of here. So, I asked for a night sky mural. And Mica, with the only good idea he's ever had, thought we should paint the stars with glow-in-the-dark paint. It's pretty cool, although I won't be in here in the dark, alone. If Grandpa, or Mom and Dad aren't up here, I'm not turning off a perfectly good light! There are just a few too many creepy stones and artifacts in here mixed in with the rocks, minerals, and fossils.

Some of them I have yet to figure out. I teach geology classes at the local university so I know a thing or two about rocks and minerals. But Grandpa has some freaky stuff up here, I mean, things that probably shouldn't even exist. Whenever I ask him about them, he just says they were acquired during his youth. Okay, fine, but do you think maybe he could tell me where he acquired them?? For some reason, he never has much to say when I try to find out about the odd pieces of the collection. It's like he knows — but he's not talking. But then, grown-ups are weird.

I brought a tray of fluorite crystals over here to the desk so I could look for one to have made into a necklace. I really need a new necklace. Fluorite is the crystalline form of calcium fluoride. Interestingly, it is also the Illinois state mineral. Its name comes from the Latin fluere which means "to flow." Now, I know what you're thinking - crystals don't flow. But fluorite melts easily, hence the name. The mineral comes in many colors depending on which other elements are formed with it. My favorite fluorite color is purple, I guess, because it looks so much like another one of my favorites, amethyst (which is actually a variety of quartz).

Here is a link to more info on fluorite: http://geology.com/minerals/fluorite.shtml

Oh, snap! I hear the wooden staircase creaking ever so slightly. I already know it's Mica for three reasons:
1) the creaking is slight, so the person is light
2) the person on the staircase is trying to be sneaky like a brat, and is tip-toeing
3) Mica prefers the spiral stairs to the elevator

Anyway, it was fun while it lasted. I'm logging off of here and heading down into the cavern - on the elevator!


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